The Fourth Circuit has reaffirmed its family-based asylum case law.

"For three reasons, we are compelled to conclude that the IJ and the Board erred in finding that Salgado-Sosa has not shown that his kinship ties are at least one central reason for the harm he fears. First, the record manifestly establishes that MS-13 threatened Salgado-Sosa on account of his connection to his stepfather and to his family. Salgado-Sosa testified, for instance, that MS-13 attacked him because of his stepfather Merez-Merlo’s conflict with the gang, not his own. Merez-Merlo similarly testified that his refusal to give MS-13 what they wanted, which was the war tax, led the gang to repeatedly threaten to kill his wife and son. Other evidence also corroborates the centrality of family ties. For example, the family’s long-time neighbor submitted an affidavit averring that the reason why the gang members want to hurt Salgado-Sosa is that he defended his stepfather from the gang members when they assaulted the family."

"Second, that Salgado-Sosa’s anticipated harm is on account of membership in his family follows from the IJ’s own factual findings, adopted by the BIA. The IJ herself determined that the central reasons for Salgado-Sosa’s feared persecution are his stepfather’s refusal to pay the gang and revenge on the family for resisting MS-13’s extortion."  "There is no meaningful distinction between whether Salgado-Sosa was threatened because of his connection to his stepfather, and whether Salgado-Sosa was threatened because MS-13 sought revenge on him for an act committed by his stepfather."

"Third and finally, the BIA’s decision improperly focused on whether Salgado-Sosa’s family was persecuted on account of a protected ground, rather than on whether Salgado-Sosa was persecuted because of a protected ground – here, his relationship to his family. The critical fact, for the BIA, was that the motive for the attacks on Salgado- Sosa’s family was financial gain or personal vendettas, neither of which is itself a protected ground under the INA.  But as we have explained before, it does not follow that if Salgado-Sosa’s family members were not targeted based on some protected ground, then Salgado-Sosa could not have been targeted based on his ties to his family."

The full text of Salgado-Sosa v. Sessions can be found here: